Happy New Year – tanti auguri!

Another year gone – another year of life disappearing over the horizon with all it hazards and chances.

A thousand thanks to everyone who looked in on The Phraser over the year.  Your company and your feedback make The Phraser.

I would also like to mention especially, those who have allowed me over the past year to interview them or feature their work.  It is such a privilege to have the chance to profile the parts of life that have caught my eye.

Here are a few links to some of the 2014 Phraser ‘portraits’:

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Donkeys – a lifeline to Zimbabwe

The VAWZ (UK) stall at the Whitely Village Summer Fair 2014

The VAWZ (UK) stall at the Whiteley Village Summer Fair 2014

I am high above the clouds en route to Naples but in my mind is an English summer fair held almost three weeks ago at Whiteley Village. The sky that day was the same blue as today’s with storms smudged briefly across the far horizons.

Whiteley, a retirement village, is a web of cottages set in acres of Surrey. Its annual summer fair is a well-known local event.

This year it was hot. An ice-cream van dotted the crowds with dripping cones while beneath the bunting skin ripened, bands tootled and stalls set out their wares. The visitors were a mixed selection of locals and the further-flung, with a strong dash of Zimbabweans adding to the flavour.
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The ‘thanks’ are in the post

The Phraser has tapped away another year … thanks!  It’s knowing there’s an audience that gets the writing out from somewhere between my ears and into cyberspace.

It has been a stretched eighteen months of writing with  Zimbabwe, land of my birth, still taking up much of the space.  Quite a chunk of that has been taken up by two interviewees.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 4

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

Innocent Victims is about animal rescues in Zimbabwe during a violently enforced land redistribution programme which spilled across the country’s farms at the turn of the millennium.

Meryl Harrison and her small team from the ZNSPCA were at the heart of the rescues.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 3

 

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

“In total, 260 Holstein cows were stuck in the middle of a bitter dispute and were losing weight and condition dramatically.”

The land the cattle were on had originally belonged to the Hughes family who had bought Bains Hope Farm in 1932. In 2003 the family were evicted and the land was caught in a tug-of-war between A1 settlers and Mr Bayisa – an A2 settler. As the arguments and intimidation continued the cattle got weaker and weaker.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 2

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

Terry Ford was murdered on Gowrie farm in Norton in Zimbabwe in March 2002. A photograph of his body, concealed beneath a blue bedspread and with a Jack Russell curled against its side, was picked up by news teams around the world.

The dog was called Squeak. His defiant vigil ensured that the world acknowledged his master’s brutal death.

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